Jenn Mooney of LSNHS participates in George Washington Teacher Institute

// Posted By Janie Rohlfing

Jenn Mooney, a social studies teacher at Lee’s Summit North High School, traveled to George Washington’s Mount Vernon to participate in a four-day, residential professional development program, March 30 to April 2.

Ms. Mooney attended The George Washington Teacher Institute’s Slavery in George Washington’s World program, which included an intensive study led by noted public historian Richard Josey of the Minnesota Historical Society and Dr. Kathryn Silva from Claflin University. Participants collaborated with Mount Vernon’s knowledgeable historians, curators and educators while on site.

A Lee’s Summit North High School teacher for 15 years, Ms. Mooney serves as the school’s A+ coordinator and teaches Advanced Studies American History and International Baccalaureate History of the Americas.

Ms. Mooney shared that the Teacher Institute “was a great experience, and I would encourage anyone who is interested to apply. It is not limited to secondary school teachers. Our group was also made up of elementary teachers, librarians and curriculum/professional development specialists.”

In addition to studying the context of slavery in the 18th century and Mount Vernon’s enslaved population, participants learned about Washington’s ideas about slavery. Participants used primary historical sources and archaeological evidence to explore ways to broaden students’ understanding of slavery and the challenges of teaching slavery and race in today’s classroom.

While at the Institute, Ms. Mooney lived on George Washington’s estate, within view of his mansion and attended daily sessions in the 45,000-square-foot Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington. She will develop and conduct a professional development workshop for her education community in order to share information from the Institute.

Institute participants from around the country included K-12 teachers, librarians, and media specialists selected by the George Washington Teacher Institute in a competitive application process. The George Washington Teacher Institute, founded in 1999, provides K-12 educators with professional development opportunities throughout the year through residential, online, and regional programming, as well as Teacher Fellowships. Private funding supports full-scholarships for residential program participants, including a transportation stipend, to qualified educators from select states. In 2017, 160 educators from across the nation will benefit from the George Washington Teacher Institute Residential Programs. For more information about the George Washington Teacher Institute, please visit

Jenn Mooney (center) listens as library staff discuss George Washington’s ledger.

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